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Technology in Teaching and Learning: Newest Projects from LSE Staff

Games, revision podcasts and electronic feedback are the main themes of the latest projects funded by an LTI Grant. You can find more information about our funding schemes and other projects in our dedicated pages.

Strand 1: Innovation in Teaching and Learning

InteractivityGustav Meibauer and Andreas Aagaard Nohr, Department of International Relations – Development of PowerPoint-Based Simulation Games for Use in Undergraduate Teaching

“This project will design and implement three PowerPoint-based interactive simulations for use in introductory undergraduate classes. Currently available solutions are targeted at course-long activities, at a high cost of time and preparation effort for both teachers and students. Instead, this project explicitly aims at providing a low-cost, easily accessible and class-long interactive experience to students to encourage theoretical linkage with own in-class experience in such issue areas as foreign policy, diplomacy, or great power dynamics. “

Kay Inckle, Department of Sociology – The Game of ResearchGamification

“The Game of Research is designed for social science students undertaking a final-year qualitative primary research dissertation. In stage one it is a board game similar to Snakes and Ladders but adapted with additional features to make it research-focused and dependent on skill and discernment rather than luck. Through the game students learn the six essential components for a successful qualitative research project: research question, design/proposal, ethical approval, methods/fieldwork, analysis, writing and referencing. The second stage of the game mimics the board game, but takes place in a virtual platform using students’ actual research projects.”

ПечатьOlga Sobolev, Language Centre – Language Immersion in a Self-Study Mode: Revision e-Course

“A new self-study revision e-course, promoting students’ proficiency in spoken and aural Russian through autonomous learning […]  This is very much a student-centred initiative:

  • The course is geared specifically to the syllabus covered in the Russian Language and Society Course throughout the year.
  • It will offer a valuable alternative to teaching contact hours that are not available to students throughout the Easter break, to back up and enhance their revision/preparation for the exams in the ST.”

machine-writingTobias Pester, Department of International History – Sustainable Autorship with Academic Markdown

“I am proposing to develop, document, and teach a Workshop for Sustainable Authorship for students of the LSE that familiarizes and equips them with the writing environment of Academic Markdown. […] One, it provides the automatic generation of references and bibliographies. Two, it relies on the single most sustainable file format since the invention of computers: human-readable plain text. Three, it is platform independent: the most basic text editor available on any operating system will do. Four, it does not rely on proprietary software.”

Read Tobias’ post on his experience with Academic Markdown

DigitalArchiveSusan Scott, Department of Management – Using Digital Innovation to Curate a Living History of Uber and Uberisation

“This project will explore the usefulness of establishing and curating an open access digital ‘living’ archive to support problem-based learning about contemporary topics in global business management particularly (but not only) reconfiguring business models and service innovation. With help from LTI we will create an open access archive populated with a selection of material to date about the American international transportation network company Uber and the phenomenon known as “Uberization” “

Strand 2: e-Assessment

Edgar Whitley, Department of Management – Using Mahara: Blogging, Peer Review and PeerReview
Feedback

“The aim of the project is to assess the suitability of the Mahara platform as a means of student assessment, feedback and peer review for courses within the School.”

Strand 3: Students as Producers 

Filming2Jennifer Jackson-Preece, European Institute – Narrating the Death (and Life?) of Multiculturalism

“EU 458 Identity, Community & the ‘Problem’ of Minorities ends with a student debate on the ‘Death of Multiculturalism’. Instead of group presentations, the initiative would ask students to work in small groups (3-4) over a 2-3 week period to produce a short (5 minute) film narrating their take on this theme. The films would be screened in LT week 11, and a general debate / discussion would follow on from them.”

Teachers: Make the Most of Reading Week!

Reading Week is meant to give LSE students time to consolidate on their learning by taking some time off their lessons or participating in workshops and other activities organised in their departments. Why don’t you too use it to consolidate your teaching skills?

Collaborative Long-distance Online Course: Reflections

Tony Spanakos

Tony Spanakos

Francisco Panizza

Francisco Panizza

Last Michaelmas Term, Dr Francisco Panizza from LSE’s Department of Government and Tony Spanakos, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University (US) co-taught a synchronous online course on BRICS  open to LSE and MSU students. The project was funded by an LTI Grant. Below are their reflections on the project.

The project

Francisco Panizza: There are many courses running at LSE each term, but this Michaelmas Term I was able to co-teach a course with a difference, alongside Professor Anthony Spanakos from Montclair State University in New Jersey. The course on the politics and policies of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) brought together around 30 students from both universities in a ‘virtual classroom’. The LSE students, second and third year undergraduates from the departments of Government and International Relations, were all volunteers. Whilst they didn’t gain any credits for joining the course, it was a really interesting experience and I think everyone who took part learned a lot.

Tony Spanakos: This was the third time a faculty member from the Political Science and Law department at MSU conducted what we call an eDiplomacy course. These courses use technology to allow to faculty members to lead a virtual classroom composed of students from two schools in different countries. […]

The goal of the eDiplomacy class is not simply to make students aware of other perspectives but to interact and to realize the challenges and opportunities that diplomacy presents. The students selected which of the five countries they wanted to ‘join’ and then each delegation selected officers (head of state/government, finance minister, defence minister, foreign affairs minister). Prior to our last meeting, each country and each office (defence ministers, finance ministers, etc) submitted documents representing their goals, interests, and concerns, and the entire class submitted a single Summit document. In class, they presented the achievements to the ‘Western Powers,’ Dr. Panizza, me, and Professor Jack Baldwin-LeClair, my department chair whose expertise in international law added richness to our discussion (and who was fundamental in getting the course off the ground on the MSU end).

LSE-virtual-classroom

Challenges

FP: Although we now live in a ‘global village’ and there are many commonalities between the US and British university systems, there were practical differences that needed to be ironed out. For instance, the US academic year runs on semesters and classes at Montclair State University started four weeks earlier than at LSE. As a result, the US students gained and extra holiday during LSE reading week and in exchange our students got a day off on the Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday, a de facto holiday in America.

On the technical side there were also challenges to overcome. The LSE does not currently have a dedicated classroom with the communications equipment we required for the course. This meant carrying the equipment from the Learning Teaching and Innovation (LTI) office in Aldwych to our classroom in Lincoln’s Inn Fields each week to set it up, with the help of two highly professional LTI Learning Technologists. Another lesson we learned was that all technology is only as good as its weakest link. The LTI grant funding enabled the course organiser to buy a high quality camera, but without professional lighting or high tech projectors images of both classrooms weren’t as clear as we would’ve liked and it was sometimes difficult to identify and listen to students sat at the back of the classroom (students seem to gravitate towards the back of any classroom, virtual or not)

TP: Although this was the third time a faculty member in the MSU Department of Political Science and Law taught such a course, it was my first time and there was quite a bit of learning to do. The greatest challenge that, I believe, we faced was getting our technology to enable our classrooms to be truly discussion spaces. Ironically, because we had a room with multiple microphones and speakers and a state of the art videoconferencing system, it was difficult to conduct a proper discussion between the two classrooms. Whenever Dr. Panizza or his students spoke, we needed to mute our microphones, and vice versa. This made back and forth discussion more difficult and forced us to speak for longer periods at a time and to collect a number of questions from each classroom before allowing someone on the other side of the pond to respond.

Another challenge was in establishing effective discussion boards outside of the classroom. Given the difference of time-zones and schedules, getting synchronous discussions was not likely. We thought that the students would be better identifying the app which would be most conducive for group discussions (between members of the same country, students with the same office) but we did not coordinate this enough and only found effective discussions once we required students to use canvas discussion pages that we set up.

Achievements and Potential

TS: The idea is to diversify and deepen the learning experience by allowing students the opportunity to hear and engage with multiple perspectives on a common theme. The course allowed us and our students a chance to discuss politics in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa in a far more diverse context than would have been possible otherwise. The participation of guest scholars from our and other universities, in the US, UK, Brazil, and South Africa further contributed to that experience.

After the summit, my students submitted written reflections on the summit which demonstrated a genuine awareness of the challenges, opportunities, work, and pleasure of diplomatic work.

Our students were very generous in giving feedback and helping us see where we could have improved the course and encouraging us by showing where the course was most effective. On balance, responses from our students, and us, were very positive and we look forward to being able to repeat the experimental course. We know diplomacy is not easy but is very necessary. We also know that it is on-going and we hope that we get a chance to repeat and improve on the 2015 MSU-LSE BRICS seminar.

FP: In spite of the inevitable teething problems, there were many, many, positives. Guest lectures from other universities were able to join the course. One of them was Professor Lucius Botes, from the University of the Free State in South Africa, which meant that our virtual classroom extended across three different continents and three different time zones. Perhaps the peak of the course was the last week, when students ran a ‘BRICS summit’, in which they assumed the representation of the different countries and drafted documents on foreign affairs, the economy, defence and a joint BRICS declaration. If only they ran the real summit, the world would be a better place.

Ultimately, I think we only scratched the surface of a teaching experience full of possibilities. Imagine being able to run a course together with the best specialists in the world, in a virtual classroom with images of HD quality! There is undoubtedly a need to develop new teaching methods and forms of student participation that take full advantage of new communication technologies. There are several new buildings being constructed at the LSE, and hopefully these should include state of the art technology and teaching spaces that will make ‘virtual classrooms’ a permanent fixture in University teaching.

Francisco’s comments were originally posted in his blog post on the Department of Government’s website

Lent Term Workshop Programme

1

 

LTI offers training sessions for staff in the following areas:

Learning Technology

Digital Literacy

Moodle

Click on the picture to download the full programme forLent Term 2016

Book your place through LSE’s training system

An alternative to text essays?

Replacing a 2,000-word formative essay with a short video or visual presentation. That’s the challenge that Dr Sivaramjani Thambisetty set to undergraduate students on her Intellectual Property Law course.

But why do that?

October workshops

Here we are, the first week of term, a stressful but exciting time of the year! It is also that time of the year when we are buzzing with new ideas and still feel the boost of the Summer holidays, so in a word the perfect time to try out new stuff or work on developing your  skills.

We can help!

This month LTI has organised workshops to help you just do that! Get familiar with new technologies and how they can support your teaching, see how you can enhance your presentations, develop your web presence and search for literature effectively.We also provide support and training for all your Moodle needs!

October2015Schedule

Go to LSE’s training system for more information and to book your place

Looking forward to seeing you!

September 28th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Video Production as Coursework?

Students making videos as part of their formative assessment?Not only is it possible but it can also have a great impact on student engagement, assessment and on developing life skills. 

September 11th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Get Ready for the Start of Term!

Tired

It’s that time of the year again! September is just round the corner, the holiday mood is starting to wear off and the weather seems to have already shifted to Autumn. But September is also the time to get a fresh start and get ready for the new academic year, and LTI is here to help you!

 

We will be running training sessions on Moodle for new and proficient users and also on using learning technologies in teaching and learning, a great introduction to the many ways you can use ed tech to make your teaching- and your students’ learning experience even more enjoyable!

Watch this space…

We have prepared guides for teachers to discover or explore the many ways that learning technologies and digital literacy can add value in education. We’ll be distributing them to new and current staff and they will be available here soon.

We’ll also be holding an Open House at the end of the month so come say hi and chat with us about how we can help you with your projects and professional development!

August 27th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Marking and Giving Feedback with iPads

Last academic year, staff in the Spanish Section at LSE’s Language Centre were awarded an e-Assessment grant from LTI to support their project of using iPads and annotating apps to mark and give students feedback electronically.

Why use tablet marking and feedback…

…from the teacher’s point of view…

Several applications were analysed and the three teachers who participated in the project each selected the one that they found easier to use. Some advantages that were common to all teachers:

Advantages of using

the iPad and apps

Improvements on

marking and feedback

  • portability
  • paperless
  • online backup
  • possibility to add comments
  • rubrics to reuse common comments
  • apps suitable and adaptable to participants’ marking styles
  • encourages reflection on marking and feedback
  • opportunities to improve student understanding by extracting and analysing data held
  • clearer and more detailed feedback

 

…from the students point of view…

iPadsDuring the first term students’ were exposed to the “traditional” and “electronic” way of marking and giving feedback and were then asked to answer an evaluation questionnaire in order to determine their preferences in terms of writing and submitting their work, and receiving feedback. Overall many students did not show any preference with regards to traditional and electronic assessment. Those more in favour of e-assessment and feedback gave the following reasons:

* confidence of knowing work is backed up

* e-feedback easier to use so more likely to revisit at a later date

* improved clarity and understanding of feedback

Want to know more ? Click on the picture below to get the full report. You’ll find details on the apps that were used along with a very useful comparison grid to help you choose the right tool.

EMASpanish

 

E-Marking and e-Feedback: what else?

Using tablets to enhance marking and feedback is only one option in what is known as Electronic Management Assessment (EMA). Following on this project the language centre is now working on a wider EMA project entitled “From-e-Marking to e-Feedback: training, applying and evaluating” which aims at raising awareness of and comparing three distinctive e-marking and e-feedback methods, one of them being iPad marking. This project is being funded by an LTI e-assessment grant and an update will be provided when it is completed.

LTI is working on EMA and its use at the LSE. Watch out this space for updates on projects.

Also have a look at JISC’s guide on EMA to discover how you can use technology to support the assessment lifecycle.

 

 

How effective are e-Marking and e-Feedback?

Catherine Hua Xiang

There are numerous methods and tools to mark and provide feedback using technology. Catherine Hua Xiang and Lourdes Hernandez-Martin from LSE’s Language Centre run an LTI-funded project* aimed at ‘exploring and comparing three distinctive e-marking methods and e-feedback as a result of three marking tools’

Lourdes Hernandez-Martin

More than 20 members of staff at the Language Centre were offered training on using Moodle, iPads with e-pens and Snagit to mark and provide feedback on students’ written work. They applied the three different marking methods to the same group of students throughout the academic year on different pieces of work (usually long essays).

They were then asked to write a reflective diary on the impact of these methods on the way they mark while students answered a survey to explore their perception of video and written feedback. The findings demonstrated a clear preference for video feedback using Snagit, which Catherine and Lourdes explained by providing the following reasons:

  1. Linguistic enhancement – Students have found being able to listen to teacher’s correct helps both pronunciation as well as overall listening skills.
  2. Personal approach – Students preferred the personal approach of a video feedback as it creates the style which is most similar to a face to face interaction. The teacher’s voice helps engage the students.
  3. Quality of the feedback – Students have commented on the details that verbal feedback could offer as opposed to the written feedback.
  4. Others – Students also commented on the usefulness of having both – the fact that they can come back and listen to the feedback at any time they wishes. It offers great materials for revision purposes.

“It is very helpful having the teacher guide me through the corrections as it is more personal and can allow me to see not just what is wrong but why it is wrong

“It’s much better to hear something directly rather than having to try and work things out from comments or notes written down”

“you can learn from home, rather than having to come in for office hours”

 

Snagit

Snagit Features

 

* From e-Marking to e-Feedback: Training, Applying and Evaluation, project funded by a Learning Technology and Innovation Grant. You can also find some information and updates on this project in the LSE Language Centre website.